Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ahmadinejad dismisses threats on nukes

25 September 2012, 12:34

New York — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday dismissed threats of military action against Iran's nuclear programme, arguing that his country's project to enrich uranium is only for peaceful purposes and saying that Iran has no worries about a possible Israeli attack.

Ahmadinejad spoke before a group of editors and news executives after his arrival in New York for the annual UN General Assembly. He told the group that it was not too late for dialogue with the United States to resolve differences.

But in his remarks, Ahmadinejad sought to delegitimise US ally Israel's historic ties to the Middle East and its political and military power in the region and the world, saying that Israelis "do not even enter the equation for Iran".

"Fundamentally, we do not take seriously threats of the Zionists," said Ahmadinejad. "We believe the Zionists see themselves at a dead end and they want to find an adventure to get out of this dead end. While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take these threats seriously."

Ahmadinejad declared Israel has no place in the Middle East, saying that Iran has been around for thousands of years while the modern state of Israel has existed only for the last 60 or so years. "They have no roots there in history," he said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney responded to Ahmadinejad's remarks, telling a midday news briefing, "Well, President Ahmadinejad says foolish, offensive and sometimes unintelligible things with great regularity. What he should focus on is the failure of his government of Iran to abide by its international obligations, to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Inflammatory rhetoric

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had met with Ahmadinejad on Sunday and "urged Iran to take the measures necessary to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme", UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said.

The UN chief also raised the potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric "from various countries in the Middle East", Nesirky said.

On other topics in his meeting with editors, Ahmadinejad said that Iran favours a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Syria, and denied that Tehran is providing weapons or training to the government of President Bashar Assad, as Assad's opponents and others have alleged.

"We like and love both sides, and we see both sides as brothers," he said. He referred to the conflict in Syria as "tribal" fighting and said that international "meddling from the outside has made the situation even harder".

He refused to say whether Iran would accept a government not led by the Assad regime, which for years has been Iran's closest ally in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad met journalists in the mid-town hotel where he was saying. It was Ahmadinejad's eighth visit to the UN gathering held each September, which he cited as proof that he is open to understanding other countries' views.

Last New York trip

In spite of his assertions on the importance of dialogue and respect for others, Ahmadinejad presented a hard line in many areas.

He refused to speak of the state of Israel by name and instead referred only to the "Zionists", and when asked about author Salman Rushdie he made no attempt to distance himself from recent renewed threats on the author's life emanating from an Iranian semi-official religious foundation. "If he is in the US, you should not broadcast it for his own safety," Ahmadinejad said.

He said this would be his last trip to New York as president of Iran, because his term is ending and he is barred from seeking a third consecutive term. But he did not rule out staying active in Iranian politics and said he might return as part of future Iranian delegations to New York.

Ahmadinejad said the argument over Iran's nuclear programme was a political rather than a legal matter and needs to be resolved politically.

"We are not expecting that a 33-year-old problem between America and Iran to be resolved in speedy discussions, but we do believe in dialogue."

Later in the day, Ahmadinejad took aim at both the United States and Israel while addressing a high-level UN meeting promoting the rule of law, accusing Washington of shielding what he called a nuclear-armed "fake regime".

Anti-Islam video

His remarks prompted a walkout by Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor.

"Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past," Prosor said in a statement. "Three thousand years of Jewish history illustrate the clear danger of ignoring fanatics like Iran's president, especially as he inches closer to acquiring nuclear weapons."

Ahmadinejad also alluded to the amateur anti-Islam video made in the US that has caused protests across the Muslim world, accusing the United States and others of misusing freedom of speech and failing to speak out against the defamation of people's beliefs and "divine prophets".

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...